waajib





Homework is a duty and where is this better understood than in Kuwaiti, where 'duty' and 'homework' are one and the same word: waajib.

In Kuwaiti, a sense of obligation is also expressed using laazim.  Put this magic word before verbs and everything suddenly becomes more urgentlaazim aguul-li-haa ('I have to tell her') or laazim tshuuf al-filim ('you have to see the film').

And if something is not compulsory, you can simply say muu laazim.

One day, I was curious to know what homework is like for kids these days, so I peeked over the shoulder of a moody 10 year-old who was scribbling in crayon all over his sheet of paper.

"laa tsawii chidhii!" his mum scolded him. "Answer the questions!"

"There are no questions, waajib is dumb," the boy replied. 

"What's with the attitude?" his mother quips, then softens her tone. "fa... shinuu laazim tsawii?" ('so... what do you have to do?').

"There are two pictures and I have to decide which one shows something na'9iif and which one shows something wasakh."

One picture was of a toilet and the other, a prayer mat.

"shinuu?" spluttered the mother. "That's totally dumb."



Arabic Pronounced? English

لا تسوي چذي!
laa tsawii chidhii! Don’t do that! (>m)
لا تسوين چذي!
laa tsawiin chidhii! Don’t do that! (>f)
لا تسوون چذي!
laa tsawuun chidhii! Don’t do that! (>pl)
وسخ
wasakh dirty
نضيف
na’9iif clean
مو لازم muu laazim no need